Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX


November 9, 2012

Don Newbury: Who hath God wrought?


World-class sportswriter Blackie Sherrod described columnist George Dolan thusly: “Before God made George, He broke the mold.” In those few words, Sherrod pegged the late columnist whose 30 years of daily columns in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram are legendary.

Maybe the broken mold was used again later when another inimitable communicator was born. His name is Bob Lewis, but he’s known by that moniker mostly by kinfolks, closest friends and Rotary buddies.

The rest of us know him as Tumbleweed Smith. He’s now in his sixth decade regaling us with rich stories on his daily radio show, The Sound of Texas, and in his weekly newspaper column. His work is featured by dozens of Texas radio stations and newspapers; it invariably makes us smile. On top of that, he — as was Dolan — is a favorite lectern personality throughout the Lone Star State.


Likenesses common to both Dolan and Smith are many. Suffice it to say both learned much from life’s school called “hard knocks,” but Tumbleweed has impressive academic credentials as well. He holds degrees from Baylor University (BA, English) and the University of Missouri (MA, Journalism), with additional work at Drake University Law School and language study in two foreign countries.

“Every man” fits ’em both. They both put overalls ahead of tuxedos.

Lewis, as was Dolan, is a great listener, letting interviewees “tell their stories.”


I’ve known Tumbleweed casually — but extremely favorably — for more than four decades. (Once we were scheduled to address the same event on the same night in the same town, but that’s another story.)

It was fun to interview him recently. When I thought we’d finished, he whipped out his recorder and I became the interviewee. Roles were seamlessly reversed!

We joked about the 750 or so words I’d write, and what he’d choose from a half-hour of my rambling to “fit” his 2.5-minute broadcast. (It was Lincoln, wasn’t it, who apologized for writing such a long letter because he didn’t have time to write a short one?) Indeed he “boils it down,” spending about an hour in production for each minute of air time.

Text Only
  • Don Newbury: Observations, thoughts and scatter shots

    Like a Mother Hubbard dress, the column is covering everything and touching nothing.

    June 27, 2014

  • Don Newbury: Two thumbs up for cruising from teens

    The dots could have been connected quickly by a 2-year-old during the few weeks or months between pacifier-sucking and iPhone text messaging. Predictably, my mental connection of the dots stretched over a few hours.

    May 23, 2014

  • Don Newbury: Most is ‘right’ with the world

    It was a source of amusement — for folks outside my family, anyway — when my 27 fellow seniors honored me during our final year at Early High School in 1956. I was elected — unanimously, I might add — most likely to remain left-handed.

    May 16, 2014

  • Don Newbury: Flappables twisting in the wind

    One can determine much about a man by observation, taking note of the way he dresses and carries himself.

    March 14, 2014

  • New Newbury-Don color.tif United States: A nation big on words

    We Americans are a wordy bunch, particularly after election to public office.


    January 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • New Newbury-Don color.tif On matters of disagreement

    A dozen people — maybe more — have laid claim to the admonition we’ve all heard many times. For all I know, it may have first been stated by Emily Post, Amy Vanderbilt, Miss Manners or Little Miss Muffett. Anyway, it is well-worn: “We can disagree without being disagreeable.”

    January 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • New Newbury-Don color.tif New thoughts from an old guy

    I’m guessing my Uncle Mort’s forward thinking for the new year more likely is akin to slumgullion stew, or simply a hodge-podge of thoughts he’s carried forward to the new year.

    January 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Don Newbury Social media’s Christmas miracle?

    Likelihood is great that airlines of the world — most of them maligned by flustered flyers venting their feelings when flights go awry — owe much gratitude to a single member of their flock.

    December 26, 2013 1 Photo

  • New Newbury-Don color.tif Bypassing the friendly skies for a road trip

    For the longest time, Americans by the millions were pampered and charmed by airlines in general. One ad urged us to “fly the friendly skies.” And we did, with pleasure.

    December 20, 2013 1 Photo

  • Don Newbury: The courage of his conviction

    Our citizens, in general, wait — too patiently, too quietly — for a big dose of indignation.

    November 15, 2013

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